Goa is a seductive place—it offers each what they are looking for. The young come for sun, fun and the sea while others enjoy the idle amongst the lush green and magnificent buildings. This little conclave was ruled by the Portuguese from the 16th century until it was occupied by Indian forces in 1961.
This set of three volumes aims to cover the salient features of God and God-alike appearing in different religions, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh. The contributors have given a comprehensive bird’s eyeview of their origins along with anecdotes that manifest their awesome personality. The cultural settings of the three religious heads vary considerably.
This scholarly and imaginative study of the Upanishads makes a significant point: It argues that the Upanishadic texts have been traditionally viewed as consisting of two distinct and separable parts—“metaphysics” and “story”. This has resulted in “abstraction” and over-valuation of the metaphysical message and, more importantly, neglect and consequent “under-reading” of the stories.
It’s one of those unsettling questions endlessly asked: what makes immigrants stay on in their land of adoption (generally western) if they end up unhappy, can’t strike roots, feel alien, homesick or abused; if the culture shock is hard, if memories of the motherland wring the soul, if the sunshine and yellow mustard fields of Punjab that put a song in your heart are so swiftly removed by England’s grey skies and fickle rain? If, as writer Gurnam Gill says in his short story ‘Trees in Kew Gardens’: “We are all trees of Kew Gardens.
Translating Caste is a significant addition to the literature of caste now available in English. The first English-language anthologies of dalit literature, such as Barbara Joshi’s Untouchable! Voices of dalit Literature (1986), Arjun Dangle’s Poisoned Bread (1992), and the Anthology of Dalit Literature by Mulk Raj Anand and Eleanor Zelliot (1992) have served very well as windows on Dalit writing, especially the radical literature of protest that appeared in Marathi and other languages from the 1960s.
Benjamin Disraeli could well have had Sir Richard Francis Burton in mind when he remarked in his novel Tancred that the East is a career. Following his expulsion from Oxford for unruly behaviour, the young Burton headed East under the auspices of the East India Company, to become at various points of time an explorer, diplomat, soldier, translator, poet, writer, linguist, Sufi mystic and a most remarkable Victorian.
Arundhati Roy has a long history of evoking extreme reactions from those who have read her, and even more extreme reactions from those who haven’t. People either hate Roy or love her. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a writer, it makes almost impossible any pretensions to objectivity on the part of the reviewer.